Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali

Some people say that Bali is overrated, too touristy and not worth to visit while some say it is one of the best experience in their travels. I guess it all depends on how you would enjoy Bali. With so many points of interest and beautiful beaches, Bali will definitely still delight you.

Regardless, as time has passed, and places may have grown, Bali is still what it is, somewhat but not quite. If you can look past the many tourists especially during the peak season and enjoy instead the many attractions dotted around specifically catered for tourists, you might just fall in love with Bali.

Bali deserves the attention it is getting still, and our top 10 must visit places list is enough to show why you should still travel to Bali.

-> Or jump to see the Best Accommodations in Bali

Uluwatu Temple, Pura Luhur @ Bali

Uluwatu Temple, Pura Luhur at Bali. Photo by melburnian




Uluwatu Temple – Pura Luhur

Imagine a large rugged limestone cliff with a temple perched on it, almost like a scene from cliffhanger, to add to it’s dramatic grandeur. Uluwatu Temple, a truly must visit in Bali, is also known as Pura Luhur. It is situated in the island commonly known as Bukit Peninsula, which houses Bali’s few best beaches like Balangan and many good surfing spots. The temple is itself a majestic structure, constructed and expanded many times since in the 11th Century. It is perched at the steep cliff of 70 meters above the Indian ocean. If you go on even higher grounds nearby, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of either side and sunset over Uluwatu temple itself.

Pura Pura Tanah Lot @ Bali

Pura Tanah Lot, Bali. Photo by Kevin Poh

Pura Tanah Lot

Another majestic rock formation lays as a foundation of a popular pilgrimage temple, known as Pura Tanah Lot. It is most popular for its serenity and cultural significance as it is associated with the Balinese mythology as one of the seven temples that form a ring in the southwest of Bali. A travel tip is to visit the place during the low tide so that you can “walk across the water” to the temple for the full experience.

Temple by the lake @ Bali

Temple by the lake at Bali. Photo by Rud Glazn

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (Bali’s temple by the lake)

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is another must visit temple in Bali, where unlike the rest perching on the cliff rock, this one is serenely resting at the edge of Lake Bratan. Imagine beautifully structured temple with double the beauty due to its reflection on the clear lake.

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Dolphin sightings at Lovina

Another thing to see in Bali is the dolphins! Lovina is one of the best place in Bali to make dolphin sightseeing boat trip. You will leave the beach at dawn to seek for the dolphins, though yes it may be quite crowded with other tourists trying to do the same especially during peak season, it is still well worth it when you find a school of dolphins happily jumping by. Lovina itself also offers many other attractions, activities and even boasts some backpacker scenes where you can chill out in cafes with live music.

Lady selling flowers at the Market @ Ubud, Bali

Lady selling flowers at the Market at Ubud, Bali. Photo by David Stanley

Ubud

Yes, despite that one might be trying to escape the “eat, pray, love” trail, Ubud is one place you cannot miss in your visit. It is still the heart of Bali, where all the action is and all the people and energy are focused on. Ubud is packed and condensed with the best of Bali, ranging from nature, culture and people, temples, museums, rolling rice/paddy fields and man-made gardens and parks. You may take an interesting bike tour around here or take up cooking, adventure activities like whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities, relax with yoga and meditation or have some pampering sessions of spa and massage, also enjoy the arts and theatres and not to forget the shopping. Just so you see, Ubud has a little bit of everything for almost everyone.

Paddy rice fields @ Ubud, Bali

Paddy rice fields at Ubud, Bali. Photo by Zenubud

Party at Kuta Beach

Kuta is the most popular beach in Bali, which means you can be sure to find the life and party scene here in Kuta Beach. Head here if you are looking to socialize, party and have a good time. You can be sure to find a range of places for different atmosphere and budget, ranging from Hard Rock cafe to your neighborhood cafe and pub.

Party @ Kuta Beach, Bali

Party at Kuta Beach, Bali. Photo by riza

Private beach at Nusa Dua Beach

If you have a bit more of a budget to spare, splurge at Nusa Dua beach, where it is dotted with higher end hotels and resorts. You will be rewarded with private pristine beaches for you to slowly soak in the sun and the sea. Nusa Dua is also ideal for couple on a honeymoon in Bali or people looking out for a private and relaxing getaway.

Private Beach @ Nusa Dua, Bali

Private Beach @ Nusa Dua, Bali. Photo by sektordua

Hike/Climb Mount Batur at Kintamani

Up in a highland in East of Bali, there lies Mount Batur caldera in Kintamani. A climb to the summit (1700 meters) of this active volcano is a great experience for any active travelers and surely a point of interest not to be missed. Many would do the sunrise hike for an ultimate experience, starting from as early as 4 am to reach in time for the 6 am sunrise. This hike is relatively easy and the treks are quite well marked. From the peak of the mountain, there are views in all direction to sweep you off your feet, not literally of course.

Hike Mount Batur @ Kintamani, Bali

Hike Mount Batur at Kintamani, Bali. Photo by Jeda Villa Bali

Ayana bar on rocks

We had two temples on the cliff, and now we get to drink off a bar perched on yet another cliff at Ayana bar resort * in Bali. This bar is known as the best bar in Bali, having a long line of people daily trying to get in and have a drink or two with some bites (which is surprisingly good) while overlooking the sea crashing into the rocks below. Think about drinking, chilling and also dancing atop a cliff with the roaring sea stretching behind you to infinity while you watch white water crashed onto the side of the wall creating a spectacular natural show. If you decide which is the one bar you must go to in Bali, Ayana bar on the rocks is the place. You may get special access to the bar as a guest of Ayana Resort and Spa or RIMBA Jimbaran by Ayana *.

Bar on rocks @ Ayana, Bali

Bar on rocks at Ayana, Bali. Photo by ValeriosVeo

Coffee plantation at Bali Pulina Agro Tourism

An almost zen place for you to sit back and really appreciate your cup of coffee while overlooking the coffee plantation as far as the eye can see. Here you are served with various coffee and tea for tasting. You can also see the process of how the famous and expensive Kopi Luwak are made and even the civet cats themselves. If you are a coffee lover, do come check this place out for the ultimate coffee experience.

Coffee roasting @ Agro Plantation, Bali

Coffee roasting at Agro Plantation, Bali. Photo by Jos Dielis

So you have it, ten reasons to visit Bali and these are just the highlights. Now you know the reason behind Bali’s popularity, so maybe people can just be right sometimes. Come over with an open heart and open arms, a huge ounce of patience and tolerance for the crowd, close an eye to all the touristy things glaring at you and just enjoy yourself here. If all else fail, you can always jump on the next available fast boat and escape to Gili Islands or its rival Lombok!

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Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali


Best Accommodations in Bali

Booking.com is a good place to book your stay in Bali as most of the bookings can be cancelled right up to the trip, allowing flexibility.
Agoda.com is another good choice to find the best deals as they have the most extensive hotel listings in Asia.
Here are a few of the best accommodations that we recommend to stay in Bali:

    Luxury (from 150 USD)

  • The Oberoi, Seminyak
    For those who are looking for privacy and to splurge for a honeymoon or special occasions. With quick access to Seminyak beach, this Balinese inspired accommodation is built on 15 acres of tropical gardens. The Frangipani Cafe inside here is famed for its cuisine. Notable are their open-air massage pavilions and outdoor pool overlooking the ocean.
    Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
    Check out the latest prices on Agoda.com *
  • Tandjung Resort, Sanur
    For those who appreciate traditional architectures and design. This hotel, built way back in 1962, encapsulates the Balinese style and spirit. Among the spacious gardens are thatched roofed bungalows, pavilions, sculptures and fish ponds. It also has direct access to the Sanur beach.
    Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
    Check out the latest prices on Agoda.com *
-> See Best Luxury Hotels in Bali
-> See Best Budget Hotels in Bali

-> For more read Top 10 Best Area to Stay in South & Central Bali


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UNESCO World Heritage Site in Indonesia

Indonesia has 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, for both cultural and natural, ranging from temples and early settlements to National Parks and rainforests.

Some of the Indonesia’s world heritage sites are under threat of losing its characteristics and properties inscribed by UNESCO.

Map of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia Map

Map of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia

Borobudur Temple Compounds

Borobudur Temple, Java Indonesia

Borobudur Temple, Java

This 9th century temple is one of the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is unique in structure and carvings in compared to other Buddhist temples in Asia. Thousands of Buddhists does their pilgrimage here in Borobudur during Waisak day. One of the most popular place to stay in Borobudur is the Manohara Hotel *, that connects directly to the temple gorund and offers a good sunrise trip as well.

-> Find places to stay in Borobudur at Booking.com *

Komodo National Park

Komodo National Park, a volcanic island, is inhabited by around 5700 Komodo Dragons (giant lizards) which exist nowhere else in the world! It is a famous site for scientists to study the theory of evolution.

Besides this important attraction, the islands also have white sandy beaches, various wildlife and rich in marine life and reef corals in clear blue sea.

Komodo Dragon walking at the beach

Komodo Dragon walking at the beach. Photo by Adhi Rachdia

Prambanan Temple Compounds

Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia

Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta, Java

Candi Prambanan is a well known ancient Hindu Temple that stood majestically nearby Yogyakarta in Java. You will sure to find yourself standing in awe as you were greeted by the looming Prambanan temple that looks somewhat foreboding yet mesmerizing. It is one of the largest Hindu temple architecture in Southeast Asia.

-> Find places to stay near Prambanan at Booking.com *

Ujung Kulon National Park

This national park is located at the extreme south-western tip of Java. It is part of the Sunda, including Ujung Kulon and its islands and the natural reserve of Krakatoa. This location exudes natural beauty and its inland volcanoes are the fascination to many experts. One can find species of endangered plants and animals here, for example the Javan rhinoceroes.

Trees at Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, Indonesia

Trees at Ujung Kulon National Park, Java. Photo by ovancantfort

Sangiran Early Man Site

This is the excavation site of the first hominid fossil discovery and also other 50 fossils of Homo Erectus, which are half of the world’s known. Sangiran has been inhabited for more than one and a half million years and the site is the key to understanding human evolution. The site is located in the Central Java, 15 kilometers north of Surakata in the Solo River Valley.

Replica fossil from Sangiran, Java, Indonesia

Replica fossil from Sangiran, Java. Photo by Gerbil, via Wikimedia Commons

Lorentz National Park

Lorentz National Park is a protected area but open to travelers to visit.

It has the tallest island peak in the world which is the Mount Carstensz Pyramid (Gunung Puncak Jaya), at 4884 metres tall on the Jayawijaya range, and it is surrounded by beautiful glaciers.

Lorentz National Park is the home to more than 630 species of birds and 123 species of mammals. 70% of bird species in Papua can be found in this park!

Also, it has many indigenous tribes still living here that go back to thousand of years in existence.

Birds of Paradise in Lorentz National Park, Papua, Indonesia

Birds of Paradise in Lorentz National Park, Papua. Photo by Luc Viator

Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

Comprise of three national parks – Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Sebat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.

Bukit Lawang in Gunung Leuser National Park is famous for its Sumatran Orangutan and many go for Orangutan trekking in chance to view the Orangutan in natural habitat or visit the Orangutan Viewing Platform during feeding.

-> Find the best hotel deals in Sumatra at Booking.com *

Mother and Baby Orangutan @ Bukit Lawang

Mother and Baby Orangutan. Photo by Arian Zweger

Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy

The cultural landscape of Bali consists of the five terraces and the water temples. The temples are a wonder itself with a complete water management system since the 9th century. One of these temples is the Pura Taman Ayun temple, one of the top 10 temples to visit in Bali. The subak is a philosophical concept of Tri Hita Kirana, bringing together realm of spirit with the human world and nature. The subak system has proven to be successful for the farming society.

Top 10 Must Visit Places in Indonesia

Indonesia being diverse and wide with 17,000 islands, you may be sure to find everything to your fancy but there are a few must visit places here that you should know about. After all, not everyone has the time to traverse the entire wonderful Indonesia.

Be it for leisure, shopping, culture, history, diving, trekking or nature, you can find all those in places below of our top travel places in Indonesia.

Jakarta

Jakarta Night Skyline, Indonesia

Jakarta night skyline. Photo by yohanes budiyanto

The capital of Indonesia, everyone would inevitably find themselves visiting Jakarta as their first or last stop in Indonesia. Jakarta is also a very important international airport hub for the entire Indonesia serving many airlines to everywhere in the world. Your visit here would not be complete without getting absorbed into the hectic and congested city. Once attuned you would be ready to take on the rest of the country with ease. It has many hidden treasures, nightlife and is a shopping haven.

-> Check out our Travel Guide to Jakarta
-> Read Top 10 Things to Do and Must See in Jakarta

-> Find Jakarta hotel deals at Booking.com. Book now pay later! *


Yogyakarta

Trishaw at Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Trishaw at Yogyakarta. Photo by bob|P-&-S


Personally, Yogyakarta is my favourite place to visit in Java, Indonesia. Is has everything from ancient attractions to shopping to food and culture. Explore the main street and the narrow valleys in search of silversmiths, puppet makers, street arts and food vendors, soaking in the culture, people and food of Indonesia as it has always been.

Yogyakarta serves as a hub for historical and cultural Java, Indonesia, this is the best springboard for you to find the magnificent temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. Bath in the remains of two great kingdoms of two different religion – Buddhism and Hinduism.

-> Check out our Travel Guide to Yogyakarta
-> Read Top 10 Things to Do in Yogyakarta

-> Find Yogyakarta hotel deals at Booking.com. Book now pay later! *

Mount Bromo

Do not miss out the majestic Mt Bromo at Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, with active and dormant volcanoes to choose from. Standing tall at 2329 m, it is one of the most iconic mountain in Indonesia. You may ride a horse or catch or rent a jeep all the way to the top and be in time to catch a sunrise. You will be rewarded with one of the most out-of-this-world view as the sun appears in the horizon over the blue misty volcanic craters. This is definitely one place you should put on your must visit list in Indonesia.

-> Check out our Guide to Hiking Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo @ Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, Indonesia

Mount Bromo, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. Photo by masterbutler

Lake Toba

Relax and unwind from the hectic of travels at Lake Toba, swim in the largest volcanic lake in the world on lazy afternoons and have a long massage after then followed by a good meal to end the day. With a quiet and serene beauty, it is famous for travelers as a place to just unwind and while the time away, especially after a hard core long backpacking or trekking. Lake Toba is one of the most visited lakes in Indonesia, and that must mean something.

-> Check out our Lake Toba Travel Guide

-> Find hotel deals at Lake Toba on Booking.com. *

Largest Volcanic Lake at Lake Toba, Indonesia

Largest Volcanic Lake at Lake Toba. Photo by schristia

Bali

Tourist-packed? Yes. Well beaten track? Yes. Overrated? Maybe, maybe not. You should go there with your open heart and mind despite after Eat, Love, Pray commercialization and hope to still get the glimpse of the real beauty of it. No matter what the sceptics say, Bali remains a must visit place for every tourists in Indonesia, and it remains so with full of zest. After all, it is still the place with Bali best beaches, misty treks across volcanoes, amazing famous temples like Uluwatu and Tanah Lot and laidback coasts. At night you can even set out for a party or two along Kuta and other Bali night clubs.

-> Check out our Bali Travel Guide
-> Read Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali

Lombok

A quieter shadow of Bali, this place is slowly becoming a popular visit place in its own rights. People come here to escape the crowds and for the blue waters and green mountains. For the adventurous, a trek up Gunung Rinjani would not dissapoint or surf the great waves at coast. The nearby Gili Islands are also no strangers for the people who escape Bali.

-> Check out our Lombok Travel Guide
-> Read Top 10 Things To Do in Lombok

-> Find Bali or Lombok hotel deals at Booking.com *

Gili Trawangan @ Lombok, Indonesia

Gili Trawangan, Gili Islands. Photo by Jeda Villa Bali

Tana Toraja

A highland and the most popular destination in Southern Sulawesi, this cultural island in between mountains are simply unique. Engulf in its rich culture, traditional villages and fascinating ceremonies that would wow even those who thought they have seen it all.

-> Check out our Travel Guide to Tana Toraja

Graves @ Lemo, Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Graves at Lemo, Tana Toraja. Photo by 710928003

Baliem Valley

Best place to explore the Papua area in Indonesia, you may find tribes, which are still practicing rites and ceremonies from ancient times in places among cool air, misty purple mountains and buzz of human activities. Trek and explore the lands of Lani, Dani and Yali tribes in this remote Papua.

-> Check out our Travel Guide to Baliem Valley

Barapen Ceremony at Baliem Valley, Indonesia

Barapen Ceremony at Baliem Valley. Photo by Arian Zwegers

Raja Ampat

Known as one of the best diving destination in Indonesia and the world, Raja Ampat is estimated to host over 75% of world’s coral species with more than a thousand tropical fish species, many previously unknown.. It is definitely a diver’s paradise and for those who love marine life.

->Read our Travel Guide to Raja Ampat

Dive at Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Dive at Raja Ampat. Photo by lakshmioct01

Komodo National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Indonesia have the most famous Komodo Dragon which is the largest living lizard. You may even catch legions of flying foxes (large fruit bats) in the star-filled night sky.

-> Read our Travel Guide to Komodo National Park

Komodo Dragon walking at the beach

Komodo Dragon walking at the beach. Photo by Adhi Rachdia

-> Find the right tours for you to explore Indonesia at City-discovery.com *

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